Adding niches and ledges in showers and behind baths has become common practice and we are not surprised. They are incredibly practical and look so much better than a shower caddy. However, one of the questions that I often get asked is whether it's better to go with a niche or a ledge. There are a couple of factors to take into consideration that dictate whether we use a niche or a ledge in a bathroom, which we delve into below:
A niche is a square or rectangle that is recessed into your stud wall and creates a shelf for you to store things. These are commonly used inside showers and behind baths to store your shampoo, soaps, and body products. Niches are fantastic for smaller bathrooms and smaller showers as they take no additional space within the room. We recommend tiling the inside of the niche with the same tile that is on the wall around it. Not only does this look more clean and minimal, helping the shower to feel more spacious but it also is not highlighting all your bathroom products (which you probably don't want!).
One of the biggest drawbacks of niches is the size. The depth is dictated by the depth of the wall (90mm) and the width can be limited by plumbing, cavity door sliders or structural posts. For height we recommend making the niche no smaller than 300mm high to ensure you can fit larger bottles. If possible, we recommend making the niche as wide as possible to create a luxurious feel that looks less cluttered when filled. We also recommend having them at around 1200mm high off the floor.
Ledges also create a shelf but instead of being recessed into the wall, they are a half height wall that sits in front of the main wall. These are the more popular option now and we generally prefer ledges unless niches make more sense to save space within a very small bathroom. One of the things we love about ledges is that they can be extended past your shower/bath along the full wall of the bathroom. This acts as an additional practical shelf to store things near vanities and toilets as well.
Whether it's just in the shower or across a whole wall, ledges are also more of a feature than niches. Because the tile above extends well past the shelf, you can easily put a feature tile there without drawing attention to your shower products. Since a full feature wall can sometimes feel overwhelming, this allows us to do a half wall of feature tiles that looks fantastic. You can also put a stone top on the shelf rather than tiles, making it more of a feature and tying it back into your vanity benchtop. Like with the niches, we recommend having the ledge at around 1200mm off the floor.
Whether you are going for a niche or a ledge, we always recommend having mitred edges on your tiles. This is when the edge of the two tiles that meet at a 90 degree angle, are cut at a 45 degree so they fit perfectly together. This is a much neater finish than having a metal or plastic trim between these two tiles. The only exception I sometimes make is when using gloss white subway tiles that have an uneven texture, as gloss white trims can look just as seamless in that case.
I hope these tips have been helpful! If you want to find out more about how we can help you with your project, get in contact with us below:
Have a wonderful week!